Calderon’s IndyCar future uncertain after Toronto withdrawal

As feared, the AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet team has felt compelled to pull its #11 car from IndyCar’s Toronto entry list due to much-needed ROKiT funding being delayed.

Tatiana Calderon, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Although Calderon took part in the Mid-Ohio’s ninth round of the IndyCar season, team president Larry Foyt made it clear in the run-up to the event that the Colombian driver’s entry was living on borrowed time.

He told “I know ROKiT are trying, and it’s not like they haven’t paid anything. They’ve just fallen a little bit behind, and this is not an inexpensive sport, even if it’s great value compared with other series.

"So we need to get clarity on the situation and try and get something else if ROKiT can’t continue.”

While Calderon ran that event in ROKiT colors, Foyt’s other hitherto ROKiT-backed car, the #14 of Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood, carried principal sponsorship from Sexton Properties, a real estate company that has backed the Foyt team since 2016.

Kirkwood’s place in the squad until the end of the season – when he will join Andretti Autosport – is assured thanks to his car getting funding from IndyCar’s Leader Circle scheme and also from his $1.25m Road To Indy scholarship for winning the Indy Lights title last year.

Dalton Kellett’s place at Foyt in the #4 car is secure too, since he is not associated with ROKiT, and brings his own K-Line Insulators funding.

Calderon is less fortunate, in that the vast bulk of her deal to race the road and street courses with Foyt is dependent on the ROKiT sponsorship, and the #11 car was not a full-time entry in 2021 so therefore has no Leader Circle fall-back funding.

Her pain in this situation is shared by IndyCar veteran JR Hildebrand who drove the car in the oval events and is now sidelined until alternative funding can be sourced or ROKiT catches up with payments and can maintain these through to the season’s conclusion.

Foyt had been hoping to accrue strong enough finishes between Calderon and Hildebrand whereby the #11, #4, and #14 cars all finished in the top 22 in entrant points and were therefore eligible for Leader Circle funding in 2023, which is worth approximately $1m per entry.

Although the two parties didn’t wish to go on the record, both Foyt and Calderon have confirmed to that they wish to rejoin forces this season, although they acknowledge the difficulty of finding new sponsors in the middle of the year.

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